Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Uriah Heep - Classic Heep Live from the Byron Era (1973-76)

(U.K 1969-Present)
Uriah Heep are an English hard rock band that was one of the most popular groups of the early 70s.
The band released several commercially successful albums in the 1970s such as 'Demons And Wizards' (1972) and 'The Magician's Birthday' (1973), but their audience declined by the 1980s, to the point where they became essentially a cult band in the US and UK.

Their debut album, Very 'eavy... Very 'umble (which was self-titled in the United States), introduced a heavy organ and guitar-driven sound, with David Byron's theatrical, dynamic vocals soaring above thunderous sonic backgrounds, although acoustic and jazz elements also featured in the mix. The album's title references the signature phrase of the Dickens character Uriah Heep ("very 'umble") from the novel David Copperfield from which the band took its name. Their second album, 'Salisbury', was more squarely in the progressive rock genre, with its 16-minute title track featuring a 24-piece orchestra. Their third album, 'Look at Yourself', released at the end of 1971, included the classic song "July Morning". Subsequent releases would find the group's ever-shifting lineup (between 1969 and 1980, the band changed drummers five times, bassists four times, and lead singers five times) frequently exploring fantasy-oriented lyrical themes, often in lengthy, multi-part compositions, largely penned by Ken Hensley, who would eventually come to dominate the band during his tenure [extract from wikipedia].
David Byron was Mister Uriah Heep, his incredible voice that could reach the highest possible ranges and change lowest tones in fraction of seconds with absolutely no effort represent the peak of these pioneers of progressive hard rock.
And what can I say about Gary Thain except that he was one of the best bass players of the seventies. Without these two guys, Uriah Heep would have been no more than the band that recorded Demons and Wizards. And let's not forget Ken Hensley who makes his old Hammond and Mini Moog cry out in a way like nobody else, not the most technical keyboardist but without doubt one of the most emotional performers. His skills on guitar were also exceptional.
And of course all of them playing alongside Lee Kerslake (another musician without a great technique, more like a force of nature than a fancy percussionist) and the brilliant Mick Box on guitar. This really was the 'classic' Uriah Heep.
This posting features concerts from Japan, the UK and the USA in the era 1973-76. Featuring Ken Hensley on his Hammond organ and slide guitar (like on "Tears in my eyes"), Mick Box with his fiery and creative guitarwork and from the propulsive and solid rhythm-section Gary Thain/Lee Kerslake. But the focus is really on David Byron, he gives most of the songs an extra dimension like "Sunrise", "Love Machine", "The Easy Road" and "Shady Lady" and especially in the R&R-medley.
My highlight for this compilation is the version of "July morning" (a compilation of live material 1973-76 which includes a segment from the Dutch rock festival Pinkpop 1976, which I plan to post in the near future)
For a glimpse of Uriah Heep in the seventies, this is a must have. Heep fans have been clamoring for something like this for years-Ken Hensley's raging Hammond organ and slide guitar, Mick Box and his thunderous power chords and wah-wah solos, Lee Kerslake's pounding drums, the nimble bass work of Gary Thain (and John Wetton) and the hostrionic, pompous vocal style of David Byron..It doesn't get any better than this!

Unknown source - mp3's 192kps, includes limited artwork with select classic band photos. Quality is excellent.

Track Listing
1 - Sunrise (1973)
2 - Tears in My Eyes (1973)
3 - Traveller in Time (1973)
4 - Love Machine (1974)
5 - So Tired (1974)
6 - The Easy Road (1974)
7 - Rock 'n' Roll Medley (1974)
8 - Return to Fantasy (1975)
9 - Easy Livin' (1975)
10 - Stealin' (1975)
11 - Prima Donna (1975)
12 - Shady Lady (1975)
13 - July Morning Montage (1973-1976)
14 - Easy Livin' (1974)
15 - Stealin' (1974 )

. Musicians:
David Byron - Lead vocals
Mick Box - Guitars and vocals
Ken Hensley - Keyboards, guitar and vocals
Lee Kerslake - Drums
Gary Thain - Bass and vocals (on tracks 1 - 9, 14, 15)
John Wetton - Bass and vocals (on tracks 8 - 12)
Uriah Heep Link (98Mb) Link Fixed 24/10/2015

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